BRETHREN — Clay Shoup managed to bury a closely contested 3-point shot with less than a minute to play which lifted the Mason County Eastern boys basketball team to a thrilling 58-57 road victory Friday night in the Western Michigan D League over Brethren.

Eastern had built a 10-point lead at halftime, only to see the Bobcats mount a stirring comeback behind a full court press to first tie the score, 55-55, and then jump ahead, 57-55 with a little over one minute remaining in the fourth quarter.

“Brethren is an excellent team,” Cardinals head coach Mark Forner said. “They are a young, defensive-oriented team. We had what we thought was a comfortable double digit lead in the first half, but coach (JJ) Randall’s kids kept grinding away.

“When we lost the lead, I challenged our guys in the huddle. Every basketball player shooting baskets in the driveway dreams about being the guy to make the game-winning shot. And tonight, that dream came true for Clay Shoup, and our guys couldn’t be happier for him.”

Clay Shoup knocked down two 3-point shots in the first quarter, and Wyatt Crawford added another as the Cardinals took a 17-4 lead after the first eight minutes.

Shoup and Crawford each hit a 3-point shot in the second quarter, with Crawford scoring seven points in the period to lead the Cardinals. Despite that, the Bobcats had a 19-18 edge in the second period, but the Cardinals led by 10 points, 35-25 at the half.

Brethren outscored the Cardinals, 15-11 in the third period and narrowed the gap to just six points, 46-40 going into the fourth quarter.

Clay Shoup scored a game-high 21 points, including five 3-point buckets, to lead the Cardinals. Crawford contributed 17 points and had three 3-point baskets and Eli Shoup added 13 points and 10 rebounds. Crawford contributed six steals.

Three players scored in double figues for the Bobcats, paced by Kaylon Tighe with 18. Jack Meszarus added 12 and Connor Wojociechowski with 10.

Mason County Eastern improved its record to 11-3 overall and 10-2 in the WMD with its second straight win. The Cardinals are next scheduled to see action Saturday at Marion in another WMD contest starting at 5 p.m.